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I am headed towards a spinal fusion (one level, L5/S1) and am wondering if I am going to be able to get in to my Elise, and if not, how long it might be before being able to do so. Anyone here have any experience with a spinal fusion and ingress/egress from the Lotus?
 

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I am headed towards a spinal fusion (one level, L5/S1) and am wondering if I am going to be able to get in to my Elise, and if not, how long it might be before being able to do so. Anyone here have any experience with a spinal fusion and ingress/egress from the Lotus?
Hi Tim -

BTDT. I needed a little recovery time, but in/out of the Elise is not a problem. As soon as you can do normal bending/stretching (eg, picking something up from the floor), you can enter and exit the car. Of course, in this season it is much easier with the top off (and you may well be able to enjoy the car almost immediately if you drive it topless).

FWIW, I've been in for L3/L4 and S2/S3. After the latter, I was discharged at noon the day following surgery and on the next day I flew to California for a month-long assignment. I was jogging within three weeks.

Best of luck with your surgery! :up:
 

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I have a bad back. Some days, it is hard to bend enough to get into the car. I just roll open the soft top a bit, drop in from above and then reattach the roof on the driver's side. Or go topless!
 

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I've had a lumbar lamenectomy and my back is always an issue. Top off is a breeze, even at 6'2", I just put one hand on the sill, the other on the passenger seat back, and I scissor my legs in. With the top on I first throw my a## into the seat with my legs outside the door, then lean over the passenger seat, and bring in my right and then left leg. With a little practice it looks like I know what I'm doing.

A couple of months ago I was at a high school track meet and one of the hurdle athletes REALLY wanted to sit in the car, so I let him. It was hiliarious to see him get in and out... I felt totally vindicated. :D
 

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You should be okay, but you might slightly bump of your head getting in and out depending on your manueverability.

My comments are based on my wife's experience getting in and out of our Exige. She has a full length rod (spans from base of neck to lower back). She bumps her head against the roof's edge (weather strip) about half the time.
 

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I am headed towards a spinal fusion (one level, L5/S1) and am wondering if I am going to be able to get in to my Elise, and if not, how long it might be before being able to do so. Anyone here have any experience with a spinal fusion and ingress/egress from the Lotus?
This is so ODD - -eek-

I too am scheduled for a spinal fusion at L5 / S1 on August 5 and have been wondering the same thing.

I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. It has been a long road (no pun intended) getting to this point.

Best Wishes to you - let us all know how you're doing :up:
 

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I had spinal fusion, L5/S1 on 4-8-09 and I started to drive my Elise about a month later. Now I drive it everyday with no problems. You should be fine. I feel better than I have now than the last 2 years.

My 2 cents on my fusion.
On the note of fusion I know a few people personally that have had it and I am the best off so far. I found a few conclusions about recovery time that I employeed. The main thing is if you take pain meds up to and before surgery and after surgery your recovery will be way longer. I am not sure why, but there is a correlation to it for sure. I was in pain, but refused to take pain meds and I am so much better off for it. I think some pain is a good thing and tells you what you should or should not do and over a little bit of time you can and will block out the pain. Plus it is not like pain meds really take away the back pain and just dull your mind so I was like, heck no, I like to think. My buddy had the same surgery in Dec and I had mine in April, yet I am already way ahead of him on what we can do and he was heavy on the pain meds.

Also, there are two main types of surgery. Minimally invasion, they cut two small holes on the sides and work through that and what I had. That way there is not much cutting and it should heal quickly. Then there is the cut a big slice down the center, that takes way longer to heal. Would you rather have two 1" slits cut into you or one 4-6" cut? They can also use bone protein to get the bone to form or get bone from your hip. Of the three people I know that had the hip bone used all said that hurt for a long time and the bone protein is supposed to work faster anyway. My doc used bone protein and some bone fragments from the vertebrate he was working on and my bone is growing back really well already.

I can talk about it all day with my back stories, but right now I am super happy that I did the fusion and feel great. No more leg pain or numbness, that went away right away, and my back pain is gone. It is 12 weeks now and I got the go ahead to start riding my mountain bike again and I get to go tot he gym and do some real weights again.
 

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Thanks Troy for the encouraging news.

I have elected to have an anterior procedure as well. It seems so much better long term not to disrupt all the large muscles etc in the lower back. I hope to get back to full speed on the bike as well.

I really love cycling - I have been riding and racing for nearly 30 years
 

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I had spinal fusion, L5/S1 on 4-8-09 and I started to drive my Elise about a month later. Now I drive it everyday with no problems. You should be fine. I feel better than I have now than the last 2 years.

My 2 cents on my fusion.
On the note of fusion I know a few people personally that have had it and I am the best off so far. I found a few conclusions about recovery time that I employeed. The main thing is if you take pain meds up to and before surgery and after surgery your recovery will be way longer. I am not sure why, but there is a correlation to it for sure. I was in pain, but refused to take pain meds and I am so much better off for it. I think some pain is a good thing and tells you what you should or should not do and over a little bit of time you can and will block out the pain. Plus it is not like pain meds really take away the back pain and just dull your mind so I was like, heck no, I like to think. My buddy had the same surgery in Dec and I had mine in April, yet I am already way ahead of him on what we can do and he was heavy on the pain meds.

Also, there are two main types of surgery. Minimally invasion, they cut two small holes on the sides and work through that and what I had. That way there is not much cutting and it should heal quickly. Then there is the cut a big slice down the center, that takes way longer to heal. Would you rather have two 1" slits cut into you or one 4-6" cut? They can also use bone protein to get the bone to form or get bone from your hip. Of the three people I know that had the hip bone used all said that hurt for a long time and the bone protein is supposed to work faster anyway. My doc used bone protein and some bone fragments from the vertebrate he was working on and my bone is growing back really well already.

I can talk about it all day with my back stories, but right now I am super happy that I did the fusion and feel great. No more leg pain or numbness, that went away right away, and my back pain is gone. It is 12 weeks now and I got the go ahead to start riding my mountain bike again and I get to go tot he gym and do some real weights again.

using the hip bone for the donor bone actually produces the best likelyhood of success in the surgery *but* the recovery time for the hip is long and painful. People who do the hip option are fully recovered from the fusion but are hobbling around for weeks or months waiting for the hip to heal. The protien method is very new and the success rates are lower: in some cases the body rejects the matrix in which the protein is introduced and an immune response actually removes the material from between the vertebrae. They used to use cadaver bone as donor bone but i dont know of anyone who is doing that anymore (at least in the US) that had an even lower success rate because of rejection.

i applaud that you didnt use pain meds but for many people thats not an option, particularly if you had the more invasive surgery or your hip cut. There is no pain like bone pain and i have seen big huge tough guys absolutley debilitated from pain. The problem is that they work really well and generally people cant be trusted to not take more than what they need.


With regards to the elise, the biggest issue is during recovery. You cant do anything that would otherwise disturb the healing process (e.g. getting the two vertabrae to fuse together with the new 'disc'. That means no picking up heavy things, no twisting or jerking movements, etc. once the neurosurgeon gives you the ok then its fine. The actual movement loss is very little overall for a single point fusion. I think each segment has a range of motion of like 2-3 degrees so you dont lose enough to really notice. Once you are healed up you shoud be good to go.
 

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Thanks to all for your replies and support. Troy - can you elaborate a bit more on the "minimally invasive" fusion? My ortho surgeon has indicated he "could" do a minimally invasive laminectomy but he felt there was a lower likelihood of reducing my pain (mostly leg) and a greater chance of creating instability over time, so he's recommending a fusion. However, I had not come across someone doing a "minimally invasive" FUSION.

GREAT NEWS tho that I shouldn't be out of the Elise for too long.

Interesting theory on the pain meds. I have been VERY discreet in their use, mostly just put up with the pain. As noted, they don't really eliminate the pain, just dulls it.

Thanks all.
 

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Interesting theory on the pain meds. I have been VERY discreet in their use, mostly just put up with the pain. As noted, they don't really eliminate the pain, just dulls it.

Thanks all.
are you talking about the pain from the disc putting pressure on the nerve? because if they are perscribing narcotic pain killers for that and its not working there are different approaches, some of which are more effective than others..

as far as post-op pain, the meds make a big difference...
 

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Thanks to all for your replies and support. Troy - can you elaborate a bit more on the "minimally invasive" fusion? My ortho surgeon has indicated he "could" do a minimally invasive laminectomy but he felt there was a lower likelihood of reducing my pain (mostly leg) and a greater chance of creating instability over time, so he's recommending a fusion. However, I had not come across someone doing a "minimally invasive" FUSION.
.
the fusion surgery was classically done with the large incision just as described: 4-6 inches either anterior or posterior depending on which vertabrae is accessed. A second 3-4" incision in the hip allowed access to the donor bone.

The surgery that troy had done is a very new procedure and combines some of the best ideas over the past 30 years to do a minimally invasive surgery. The approach (help me out if im wrong here, troy) is to use laproscopic techniques to remove the herniated disc and replace it with a set of hollow shims that hold the spacing between the vertabrae. inside the shims are a matrix of bone material that precipitates new bone growth between the two vertabrae until they fuse into one piece.
 

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Before having surgery read a book about back pain by Dr. John E. Sarno, M.D.
 

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I can try to elaborate on what I know from the docs I have talked to and my own experience. I know it is a long story, but it may help you feel better about your situation.

1st- Try not go on the message boards for back pain. Not that they are bad, it is just this. If you have back surgery and it goes well you never think about it again and all is good. If you have an issue you start looking and if the issue is bad you post. So when I went there I saw all these bad stories, but it is such a small percentage of real cases. I also realized that it was almost always multiple fusions, like S1-L5-L4-L3, stuff like that. So I went on before I had surgery and have never been back. I should go back just to say how well it can and will be for most, but I have a good back so I have a millions things to do, like read LT and ponder about the SC I want to put in my Elise (You know, the really important stuff)

There are different types of fusions they can do in there and put different things in-between the vertebrate to get bone growth to form. With mine there is also what the doc said 3 points of fusion. They basically put two screws in each vertebrate and then bolt those two together with a rod. So you have a fusion in-between the vertebrate, they also pack this mesh stuff with bone protein around the screws and rod on each side. So the vertebrate will be fused in between and on the outside so it will be stronger than before. After 12 weeks I can see mine is really growing well with the X rays on all parts and the doc was very happy.

"minimally invasive" fusion is not the fusion itself, it is the way the surgery is done. What basically happens is they make two small holes in your back, not in the center, and then basically put steel straws through the holes and work through those straws, which they take out when done. This way they are not cutting you up much so they are not messing up your body for more to heal. Yes this is a new technique and does take considerable training and skill to do it so most do not do it. I would not do surgery again without this process personally and would find a doctor that can do it. If you are in my area (VA) email me and I can give you my doctors info.

As the bone protein thing, that is newer and old doctors usually like what they like and resist change, but from what I have read it forms the bone faster. I know mine is healing really fast. Now I do take a multi vitamin and 600mg of calcium with vitamin D in it each day to help. I did this before surgery and my thought was to get my body ready for the new bone so I wanted to have it ready. I also try to eat foods with calcium in them, such as oatmeal.

On my quick history. In 2005 I had back pain, but no leg pain, but I did have a herniated disc. This is when the disc material squirts out and pushes on the nerves and the nerves are not too fond of the announce of being touched and prodded. They finally figured it out after doing an MRI. I got a regular laminectomy, which is when they cut a slit in your back and cut away the bad material. This is simple. The problem with mine was two things. First, I got staph infection so I had to go back in to the hospital and deal with an IV for 6 weeks. Not fun. The second is that the doc left a little bone spur in there and it put a hole in the spinal membrane so I got a spinal membrane fluid leak. Bad head ache is an understatement. So a week later they went back in, cleaned it all out and found the leak. Not fun, but had to be done. Needless to say I never went back to that doctor. That doctor did back surgeries, but also lots of other orthopedic surgeries. So I learned a lesson there, go to an expert that basically only does back surgeries. I did feel better after about a month and I was good to go, for a while anyway.

Two years later it happened again, but different this time. I basically had very little back pain, but had leg pain and lost some function in my right leg from the knee down. I had foot drop and that is where I could not lift up my foot, like standing on your heals. So since I had nerve damage I got in right away. This time I went to a different doctor, did an MRI and it showed it was bad. I did laminectomy surgery right away and it was fixed. This doc was better. No staff or membrane punctures so I was happy and on my way again. He did say I should consider fusion since the probability of it happening again since it has already happened in the past. BTW- I never got function of those nerves back in my one leg so I have half of my lower leg where the muscles are useless. I can still walk and ride my mountain bike so it is all good.

Now the final version of my saga. I started to have back pain and leg pain again a year later and then the leg pain never went away. So I went back to the doctor I just had and we decided to do the fusion, yet my insurance said not, you need physical therapy and spinal injections first. So I had to do that and what a joke. The PT said I should do cardio and I would be fine. I told him I raced mountain bikes until my back and leg hurt so bad I could not ride anymore. He basically said “OWW”. After this my insurance still said no. I then went to another doctor in my area and he only did back surgeries to see if he had any other answers. I told him my entire story and said that my insurance just denies everything now to get out of it. What he had me do was X rays in different positions to show how the vertebrate have instability and move from each when they should not. The insurance can not say no to instability. He basically is in his office only two days a week and does surgeries 3 days a week all day long. I did the fusion with him and I am so happy the insurance denied me because I would not have found him or his newer minimally invasive procedure.

One note on the pain thing. When you have real back and leg pain I found no meds worked to help the pain, it just dulled my brain and I did not like it. If you can stand the pain and get used to it before surgery then after when you only have some surgery pain it will be so much less than the back and leg pain it is like nothing and no big deal. I felt some pain for a few days and then felt really good after fusion. The real worst part after surgery was being under in surgery you are constipated for like a week from the anesthesia and that makes you feel worse than the back pain. They don’t tell you that ahead of time, but once that is over with you should be happy. I feel great now and I am very happy I decided to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Before having surgery read a book about back pain by Dr. John E. Sarno, M.D.
Thanks. But did that. I worked thru a prior herniated disc without surgery (10 years ago) but have tried everything this time (chiropractic, physical therapy, yoga, steroidal injections, decompression therapy, strain/counterstrain, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, etc etc) to no avail. Having been able to beat the prior back problems, I've probably have tried too hard for too long to avoid surgery but now realize its my best course of action.
 

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I can try to elaborate on what I know from the docs I have talked to and my own experience. I know it is a long story, but it may help you feel better about your situation.

1st- Try not go on the message boards for back pain. Not that they are bad, it is just this. If you have back surgery and it goes well you never think about it again and all is good. If you have an issue you start looking and if the issue is bad you post. So when I went there I saw all these bad stories, but it is such a small percentage of real cases. I also realized that it was almost always multiple fusions, like S1-L5-L4-L3, stuff like that. So I went on before I had surgery and have never been back. I should go back just to say how well it can and will be for most, but I have a good back so I have a millions things to do, like read LT and ponder about the SC I want to put in my Elise (You know, the really important stuff)

There are different types of fusions they can do in there and put different things in-between the vertebrate to get bone growth to form. With mine there is also what the doc said 3 points of fusion. They basically put two screws in each vertebrate and then bolt those two together with a rod. So you have a fusion in-between the vertebrate, they also pack this mesh stuff with bone protein around the screws and rod on each side. So the vertebrate will be fused in between and on the outside so it will be stronger than before. After 12 weeks I can see mine is really growing well with the X rays on all parts and the doc was very happy.

"minimally invasive" fusion is not the fusion itself, it is the way the surgery is done. What basically happens is they make two small holes in your back, not in the center, and then basically put steel straws through the holes and work through those straws, which they take out when done. This way they are not cutting you up much so they are not messing up your body for more to heal. Yes this is a new technique and does take considerable training and skill to do it so most do not do it. I would not do surgery again without this process personally and would find a doctor that can do it. If you are in my area (VA) email me and I can give you my doctors info.

As the bone protein thing, that is newer and old doctors usually like what they like and resist change, but from what I have read it forms the bone faster. I know mine is healing really fast. Now I do take a multi vitamin and 600mg of calcium with vitamin D in it each day to help. I did this before surgery and my thought was to get my body ready for the new bone so I wanted to have it ready. I also try to eat foods with calcium in them, such as oatmeal.

On my quick history. In 2005 I had back pain, but no leg pain, but I did have a herniated disc. This is when the disc material squirts out and pushes on the nerves and the nerves are not too fond of the announce of being touched and prodded. They finally figured it out after doing an MRI. I got a regular laminectomy, which is when they cut a slit in your back and cut away the bad material. This is simple. The problem with mine was two things. First, I got staph infection so I had to go back in to the hospital and deal with an IV for 6 weeks. Not fun. The second is that the doc left a little bone spur in there and it put a hole in the spinal membrane so I got a spinal membrane fluid leak. Bad head ache is an understatement. So a week later they went back in, cleaned it all out and found the leak. Not fun, but had to be done. Needless to say I never went back to that doctor. That doctor did back surgeries, but also lots of other orthopedic surgeries. So I learned a lesson there, go to an expert that basically only does back surgeries. I did feel better after about a month and I was good to go, for a while anyway.

Two years later it happened again, but different this time. I basically had very little back pain, but had leg pain and lost some function in my right leg from the knee down. I had foot drop and that is where I could not lift up my foot, like standing on your heals. So since I had nerve damage I got in right away. This time I went to a different doctor, did an MRI and it showed it was bad. I did laminectomy surgery right away and it was fixed. This doc was better. No staff or membrane punctures so I was happy and on my way again. He did say I should consider fusion since the probability of it happening again since it has already happened in the past. BTW- I never got function of those nerves back in my one leg so I have half of my lower leg where the muscles are useless. I can still walk and ride my mountain bike so it is all good.

Now the final version of my saga. I started to have back pain and leg pain again a year later and then the leg pain never went away. So I went back to the doctor I just had and we decided to do the fusion, yet my insurance said not, you need physical therapy and spinal injections first. So I had to do that and what a joke. The PT said I should do cardio and I would be fine. I told him I raced mountain bikes until my back and leg hurt so bad I could not ride anymore. He basically said “OWW”. After this my insurance still said no. I then went to another doctor in my area and he only did back surgeries to see if he had any other answers. I told him my entire story and said that my insurance just denies everything now to get out of it. What he had me do was X rays in different positions to show how the vertebrate have instability and move from each when they should not. The insurance can not say no to instability. He basically is in his office only two days a week and does surgeries 3 days a week all day long. I did the fusion with him and I am so happy the insurance denied me because I would not have found him or his newer minimally invasive procedure.

One note on the pain thing. When you have real back and leg pain I found no meds worked to help the pain, it just dulled my brain and I did not like it. If you can stand the pain and get used to it before surgery then after when you only have some surgery pain it will be so much less than the back and leg pain it is like nothing and no big deal. I felt some pain for a few days and then felt really good after fusion. The real worst part after surgery was being under in surgery you are constipated for like a week from the anesthesia and that makes you feel worse than the back pain. They don’t tell you that ahead of time, but once that is over with you should be happy. I feel great now and I am very happy I decided to do it.


TroyLotus - Thanks for the thoughtful and lengthy reply. Very helpful. I did already discover that cruising the web can be VERY depressing. It seemed like no one had good outcomes with surgery, which I know now to not be true. I will discuss the min invasive techniques with my orthopedic surgeon and with the neurosurgeon who I am seeing as a second opinion this week.

As for my pain, it is nearly all sciatic in nature, and up until recently, I've been able to manage with no pain meds. I have had kidney stones so I am used to massive pain.

As I said, your comments and info are very helpful - thank you.
 

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Just curious, but did anyone talk to you about disc replacement? I had my l5/s1 fusion done back in the dark ages (1992) and it probably saved me from a wheelchair. I managed to get 15 good years out of it (lots of action sports) but now it appears the next disc up at l4/l5 is going. In talking to the ortho spine docs, they are now suggesting we look into a disc replacement since that doesn't put pressure on the next disc up. I don't know how old you are but I had my fusion at 39 and recovered very quickly (completely off of any pain meds in 24 hours even with hip bone use.) I think the key is to be fit, active and keep very active through recovery. Getting in and out of the Elise with the top on is a little tough these days but it feels so good when I'm in the car, a little pain is worth it.:) Good luck.
 

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If disc replacement is an option than go with it. It will allow you to keep all of your flexibility and is less risk to the disc above. If you have instability due to other spine problems a fusion is most likely required.

My fusion is due to instability caused by fractures to the spine and destruction of the disc.

My first doctor had me in PT and using injections until I refused to continue - almost a year.

I got three opinions as to treatment. All specified fusion.

Pain killers have proven useless even at extreme doses. I only use them in extreme conditions now.

Troy - thanks for the vitamin and calcium supplement idea. I will implement that now in preparation for my August 5 procedure.

Who knew there were so many Lotus guys with this problem.

Best Wishes to All -
 

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On the flexibility I now have more than before, but not really. I have been so stiff due to the back pain and issues that I got the point of not really bending and moving it. Now I can move my back without pain so I am more flexible than I have been in years. The loss of movement is so small you will never notice.

I asked about disc replacement and I was not a candidate due to the other surgeries I had. I am 36 years old. I think mine was from a motocross incident when I came up short on a huge uphill double, flipped over the bars and landed flat on my back. My legs went numb for like 10 seconds. Not good, but from what I have read long term recovery is best from accidents versus just bad discs.

Also, on another note. I did start to work out again tomorrow. I am taking is really easy so far and I feel good. My buddy who had all the pain said that he noticed it started to go away when he went and did core exercise and built that up. So every time I go to the gym I will spend some time doing that for sure. Who knows, maybe I can have that 6 pack abs I had 15 years ago. I am starting my mountain bike training for my 12 hours solo next spring so who knows. It is funny how we get smarter with working out and figuring out our body just when it is almost to late to use it to its full potential. Goto love it.
 
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